After joining reigning Champions MP Motorsport, lots of eyes were on Dennis Hauger as he started his second Formula 2 season. Strong in Qualifying, the Norwegian put his overtaking skills into practice to claim a podium finish in the Sprint Race, before facing an early retirement in the Feature Race.

Giving his thoughts immediately after stepping out of the car, follow the Red Bull junior session-by-session, charting a rollercoaster opening weekend in Sakhir from start to finish.


“It was not too bad, obviously we didn’t get too many laps in, so it was a bit hard to try and improve anything. There was too many Red Flags to go out there again, so that was a bit of a shame. Overall, I think it’s pretty decent, I think it’s going to be quite different going into Qualifying because of the tyres, the temperatures and F1 doing FP1. A lot of stuff is going to change a bit.

“Overall, there’s things for me to improve easily, there was quite a bit of time in the second sector that is easy to correct, So, I think we’re more or less there, just need to go through the data a bit more before Qualifying and see how everything’s going to change – it's a bit of an unknown situation.

“Obviously, I think the target is pole. I think ART looked really strong in Free Practice, but it’s going to change quite a bit into Qualifying. I think we’re going to manage top five, but pole is the goal. Even though you’re in the top five for the weekend, you’ve got a good chance for the races. So, we’ll target that and then see how it goes.”


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“Overall, the session was quite good. It was a big step from Practice to Qualifying and I felt like I managed it pretty decently to get up there. I’m feeling pretty good with the car and everything. It could have been possible to get P2, but overall, I think it’s a decent position. Don’t know what (Théo) Pourchaire has been doing or the team in general, they seemed pretty strong as a team in Free Practice and Quali. I think we have good race pace and it’s a good position to start the races in, so overall I’m happy with it and it’s a good start to the season.

“The overall balance was changing all the time, but it’s sort of what you expect going into it. To be honest, it was a bigger step that I expected, but I think we managed it well in terms of the setup. I was just trying to maximise everything, to get everything into the right window on the right lap, which wasn’t always easy with some people doing their first push lap, others doing their second. For the races, it’s going to be interesting to see how people are managing the tyres and everything because it’s going to be quite different compared to the test. So, you’re not really knowing what to expect before getting there, but you have an idea.

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“Starting P6 (after Frederik Vesti’s penalty), that’s even better for me. It’s on the inside for both races, I don’t know how the grip is on the inside, but if we get a good start, we’re up there. From then on, I think it’s just about staying calm. I think we have good pace, especially on the softs. For me, it’s just about getting a good start and then trying to stay in the top pack to the end to maybe do something.

“We’ll see, you never know what the others have been doing in testing and how the pace is going to look., but I think we can be confident to at least be up there fighting for some good points. That’s going to be the goal, to get a clean weekend with some good points.”


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“I’m happy to start the season like that. Overall, I felt good with the car, and we managed a mature and progressive race up the order to get some good points. Other drivers were pushing hard in the beginning, whilst we managed to stay calm. I was surprised some of the drivers were taking it so risky in the first race, but I think we managed well in the end and overtaking one by one was a nice feeling to get the P2.

“We were able to be a bit more calm in the beginning, which helped us in the end, I think. Overall, I felt good and could manage the tyres pretty well until mid-race race. That’s when we saw others struggling, which was the moment to push more. It was not easy with temperatures and grip generally changing so much from the test, but we knew it would be different, so we tried to manage that from the beginning and that helped us in the end.”


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“It was a bit annoying that our first Feature Race ended outside my control, but I’m confident we pretty much would have been up there fighting for the trophies. Losing points for something outside my control is a shame - we could easily have been in the top three in the Championship and ending up with only eight points is not optimal, but definitely knowing that we have good pace is a huge confidence boost going into Jeddah.”

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“Jeddah will be good. It's a tricky track and easy to make small mistakes on. It will be hard to get a lot of laps in before Qualifying, so we’ve really got to optimise every lap we get. This year we will use the supersofts. Last year, we had the soft tyres, so for Quali it will be very high grip, with the track being high grip already.

“The main thing will be to get a good Quali and take it from there. A lot can happen, but for me the biggest focus is to have a clean weekend and Feature Race to get some good points and start gaining to the lead. But by doing that, we have to keep focusing on every session and just keep calm, so looking forward to it.”